Senior LecturerPieter Pelser

Plant Systematics
Undergraduate Advisor
and Director of UC Herbarium
Biological Sciences 530
Internal Phone: 95228
Through my research, teaching and outreach, I aim to improve our understanding of botanical biodiversity and promote its appreciation and conservation


Research Interests

The evolutionary history of Tribe Senecioneae:Senecioneae is one of the largest tribes in the Asteraceae (ca. 3,100 species and 155 genera), has a nearly cosmopolitan distribution, and shows remarkable morphological and ecological diversity. To better understand the evolutionary success of Senecioneae and similarly large plant groups, we are taking a molecular phylogenetics approach to study the evolutionary relationships and mode and tempo of diversification of the SenecioneaeThe biodiversity and conservation of Philippine Rafflesia:The genus Rafflesia (Rafflesiaceae) is one of the few parasitic plants that are entirely contained within the tissue of their host plants. Rafflesia only emerges to produce its spectacular flowers, which are the largest of all flowering plants. Our studies of Philippine Rafflesia aim to make this charismatic genus an icon of conservation by demonstrating how knowledge of the taxonomic diversity, ecology, and evolutionary history of Rafflesia contributes to its conservation.Co’s Digital Flora of the Philippines:Co’s Digital Flora of the Philippines (CDFP; www.philippineplants.org) is an online checklist of Philippine vascular plants that aims to present a continuously updated account of all native and naturalized species of vascular plants in the Philippines with diagnostic photographs for each taxon. It is the only publicly available overview of the vascular plants of the Philippines.

Recent Publications

  • Pelser PB., Nickrent DL., Gemmill CEC. and Barcelona JF. (2017) Genetic diversity and structure in the Philippine Rafflesia lagascae complex (Rafflesiaceae) inform its taxonomic delimitation and conservation. Systematic Botany 42(3): 543-553. http://dx.doi.org/10.1600/036364417X696186.
  • Pyšek P., Pergl J., Essl F., Lenzner B., Dawson W., Kreft H., Weigelt P., Winter M., Kartesz J. and Nishino M. (2017) Naturalized alien flora of the world: species diversity, taxonomic and phylogenetic patterns, geographic distribution and global hotspots of plant invasion. Preslia 89: 203-274. http://dx.doi.org/10.23855/preslia.2017.203.
  • Wright SA., Hutchison M., Hale ML., Gemmill CEC., de Lange PJ. and Pelser PB. (2017) A preliminary conservation genetic study of Pittosporum obcordatum (Pittosporaceae), an endemic New Zealand species with a disjunct distribution. New Zealand Journal of Botany http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0028825X.2017.1363789.
  • Pelser PB., Doble KJS., O Byrne P., Ormerod P. and Barcelona JF. (2016) Gastrodia cajanoae (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae: Gastrodieae), a new species from the Philippines. Phytotaxa 266(1): 53-56. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.266.1.9.
  • Pelser PB., Nickrent DL. and Barcelona JF. (2016) Untangling a vine and its parasite: Host specificity of philippine rafflesia (rafflesiaceae). Taxon 65(4): 739-758. http://dx.doi.org/10.12705/654.4.